Bletchley Park's bitter dispute over its future

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by Owen, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    The director chap who was interviewed and basically said time for some people to move on and times are a changing
  3. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Turning it into 'Turingland' by the looks of it. Very sad.
    brithm likes this.
  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  5. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Sounds a bit arrogant to me.

    Turingland, indeed. They have evicted an excellent Diplomatic Wireless Musuem, the Churchill collection and the local amateur radio group. Probably some of the other sideshows will go, if not already. I wonder if the German signals group are still allowed on site?
    Last time I was there, the computer museum was closed (it is on Fridays), but there was no apparent way in or signpost to find it.
    brithm likes this.
  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  7. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    There were 'issues' though.
    The Churchill collection could be a pompous experience, the Collosus people could point-blank refuse to answer questions, or just turn their backs on visitors.
    Hard to describe it as somehow having previously been a Golden Age since it moved from BT training school to museum. Birth & funding of such growing projects is always complex, and seems to inevitably eventually turn to that most dangerous political form: the politics of the small group.

    The Model train man was exceptionally chipper though... As were the people in the main house.
  9. ted angus

    ted angus Senior Member

    My wife and I traveled from Scotland to visit the military vehicle show in 1997, We were so impressed with the whole site we made the trip again in 1998. before too long I heard many of the stand alone groups/ clubs/ organisations on the site had got eviction notices. So this is not the first time we have seen such a move; Yes the guy on the TV was not just arrogant but I would say much stronger words-- if I was a volunteer I would have to question would I really want to work -unpaid- under such an ------ ----
  10. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    No conflict between the two before? Constant stand-offs with Tony Sale in the past... having to pay separately to get into the NMC... It has all happened before and ended in tears then. Some of the rather old and wilted elements of the past did need shaking up, but looks like an iron fist forgot to put its velvet glove on. Glad to see some compassion from the senior management (not) - shameful. "My way or the highway" is not exactly good management.
  11. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    I feel that Standen has done somewhat of a heritage Ratner.

    A friend summed it up as follows (which is amusing), "man doesn't follow company policy, man gets let go, its a non-story".

    Personally the changes at Bletchley of late have not been for the better. Standen is clearly a poor choice for the public face of BP, his remarkably bullish cavalier attitude no doubt sounded strong, corporate and authoritarian in his head, but comes across as belittling, dismissive and wallows with contempt.

    The official response from BP is also a fantastic bit of doublespeak, which I was actually surprised to feel that they even called it 'crossed wires'


    I've only been once to BP, and thoroughly enjoyed my time - the guided tour around the whole site and NMC made what was a dry topic for me into a thoroughly interesting and engaging experience. Frustratingly I cannot recall who my guide was but he was enthused, extremely knowledgeable and managed to get the account across far better than I have experienced elsewhere.

    Yet again it feels a mishmash of commercialism, over funding, a flawed strategic vision, as well as a focus on modern technology, bullish management, and lack of respect could well help cripple BP's longevity, not assure it.
  12. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    I've just remembered there is a very nice display of his teddy bear, wrist watch and a few other fascinating items.
  13. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    In a rather surprising turn of events the above link now gets a 404 error...
  14. CTNana

    CTNana Member Patron

    Before he died my husband was a volunteer driver taking local people to hospital or dental appointments. Although many of them were very interesting, those that he looked forward to most were the Bletchley Park helpers who introduced him to a dimension of the war that he had little knowledge of. Their views about what is happening could probably be summed up by the phrase "management have lost the plot".

    It seems ironic that after years of trying to raise funds even for essential repairs, it is now considered by some to be overfunded.

    Perhaps those who run the establishment would also benefit from just listening for a change.
  15. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery


    JAN 24, 2014
    Further to a piece broadcast on the BBC 6 O’Clock news on Friday 24 January. the Bletchley Park Trust responds with the following.

    The Bletchley Park Trust is currently in the middle of a major, and very exciting, £8 million Heritage Lottery Funded Restoration project to bring the many historic buildings on the site back to a state of good repair andcreate an inspiring experience for its ever-increasing numbers of visitors.
    Iain Standen, CEO of the Bletchley Park Trust, said, “The Bletchley Park site and its buildings are historically highly significant because of their wartime functions. The Bletchley Park Trust has a responsibility to the nation to tell the stories of this Codebreaking work and its extraordinary impact in order to do justice to the remarkable people who worked here during WW2. The Trust has an exciting vision for the future which is being brought into being by the current £8 million restoration project and on which we have consulted extensively both internally and externally. We are greatly encouraged by the enthusiastic support of the overwhelming majority of our stakeholders. We continue to work hard to secure the support of everyone involved but understand that some people will not be willing to make the changes.”
    Peter Wescombe, volunteer and founding member of the Bletchley Park Trust, says, “In early 1991, Peter Jarvis and I walked despondently out of a Council meeting, where, despite our pleading, it had been decided that Bletchley Park should be demolished to make way for 300+ houses, a petrol station and a small supermarket. In May my wife, Rowena and I met with Peter and his wife, Sue, at his house ( we had invited ourselves to tea), to put forward an idea. We would ask B.T, who owned the Park, if we could hold a "farewell reunion" on the site for the wartime code breaking staff simply to say"Thank you" for their magnificent achievements. They agreed. But we were not being exactly honest. The idea was to invite as many media reporters as we could to hear at first hand and then broadcast to the nation this almost unbelievable story. It worked! From then on it was simply uphill all the way.
    I now often just stand and look, sometimes in disbelief, at the the old, sad wartime huts gleaming in their coats of fresh paint, the grounds being restored to their wartime layout; B Block standing high and proud; groups of visitors and schoolchildren listening intently to guides telling the BP story; and everywhere; staff and volunteers hurrying about their business, and I think to myself , " Wescombe, we actually made it".
    Denis Falvey, Bletchley Park Volunteer Tour Guide, said, “Bletchley Park is the perfect place to be part of a volunteer team. Since winning Heritage Lottery funding, this world wide famous site has undergone a complex transformation from being an enthusiastic volunteer-led organisation to a trust-led business. Visitor numbers have increased dramatically in recent months and, so that the visitor experience is not impaired by this, changes have had to be made to the ways in which they are shown round by volunteers. Similarly the current building restoration project, which will ensure the site's preservation for future generations, means that things now have to be done differently and will change again when the work is finished.”
    “There are many rewarding aspects to being a volunteer at the Park. As well as meeting general visitors, there are opportunities to be involved with the Archive, gardening, taking round school parties and being part of the bombe team, to name but a few.
    “I have just retired from a Top 100 company and I can see clearly that the operational footprint which Bletchley Park is creating will ensure the preservation of the Park for the nation and make it a great place to volunteer. Although other organisations require volunteers, they do not offer the opportunities that BP does.”
    “Volunteering is a choice, not a chore, and BP is a great place.”
  16. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I wonder how many other Museums etc. have gone through these birth pangs from volunteer effort to 'conventional' relatively stably-funded institution.
    My guess; is a great many.
  17. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    The purpose of any museum is to bring to life and tell the stories of the artifacts displayed. It should be accessible to all ages and ranges of knowledge from children to researchers. Alas many places fail when they are expensively 'updated' , being rehashed by a designer whose interest is in aesthetics. I have been to many places in recent years that have lost their ethos.
  18. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

  19. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    But been going on there for over 15 years, I reckon. But can't be many have gone from 'rags to riches' in this way?
    I believe the HLF grant 4.6M has got to be matched by the museum. So it need high powered corporate support and a national treasure like Turing to pull in the punters. The volunteer geeks are out of the door. Sorry, we don't need you, we have 8 million, thank you and fuck off.
    Jonathan Ball likes this.
  20. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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